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Home >> Technical FAQs >> What is pcbn


What is PCBN material?

PCBN is made of polycrystalline cbn that is produced in a high temperature-pressure procedure, Cubic Boron Nitride (CBN) Inserts are high-performance tools used for cutting hard materials. Usually, they are very hard, hence suitable for machining materials that can’t be machined by mono-crystalline diamond. cbn inserts don’t react with materials rich in carbide constituents, but only react to oxygen that is from 1200 degrees Celsius.

The use of pcbn materials in making high power cutting and machining tools has grown tremendously and cbn tools are quite popular today. This can be attributed to the strength and durability of such materials which present a perfect alternative for carbide and ceramic tools. pcbn is simply an acronym for polycrystalline cubic boron nitride which is used in manufacturing high power and intensity tools. This material is created by binding cbn (cubic boron nitride) particles with specific binders that boost strength and resistance to wear.

How is pcbn produced?
As aforementioned, polycrystalline cubic boron nitride is formed by binding cbn particles together. This sintering process is accomplished under high pressure and temperature with binder phases. The two main binder phases include metals like copper (Co) and Nickel (Ni) as well as ceramics like TiN, TiC and Al203. Most pcbn materials feature about 40% to 65% cbn while another class containing 85% to almost 100% cbn also exist for other applications. The ceramic binders are added to improve wear resistance to cubic boron nitride which is otherwise quite prone to chemical wear. Metal binders are often used for added toughness and the cbn is pressed on to a carbide carrier forming inserts.

pcbn properties
Polycrystalline cubic boron nitride contains two main compounds which are cbn and the binder phase (ceramic or metal). The resulting metal has various properties that allow it to be used in various abrasion applications. cbn tools are recommended for ferrous materials like cast iron and hardened steel although they can be used for many other metals. pcbn can achieve hardness of over 45HRc which is a cap for most soft steel and metals. At hardness above 55HRc, pcbn tools are the only existing alternative for traditional grinding processes and methods. This is because softer steel and materials with hardness below 45HRc contain a high amount of ferrites which present negative impacts on cbn wear resistance. This material has excellent hot hardness and can be perfectly used in applications that involve high cutting and turning speeds. Other properties include toughness and thermal shock resistance and well as chemical wear resistance. Some solid cbn inserts can be used to resist impacts of interrupted machining and finish wear.

pcbn vs. other materials
Cubic boron nitride is the second hardest material or metal after diamond and has various similarities with diamond. Its chemical bonds, lattice constants and structure are much like diamonds and the two are considered very close. cbn is very strong and exceeds the strength of materials like carbide, ceramics although these are the materials commonly used in abrasive applications. In terms of wear resistance, pcbn is 50 times better than carbide tools, 30 times better than carbide coated tools and 20 times better than ceramic tools. The material is relatively easier to produce and offers unmatched inertness in ferrous material abrasion tools. This is why its use has been continuously gaining popularity.

Applications of pcbn material
Polycrystalline cbn material tools are used for various abrasion applications in factories and manufacturing plants. Advancements in technology have led to the use of NC machinery and CNC technologies that require high quality and stability tools. polycrystalline cbn tools present the required longevity, hot hardness and top quality. Some applications that benefit from tools made of this material include high speed turning and cutting, turning in place of grinding and dry cutting. Although pcbn material is suitable for ferrous metals, the tools can be used to cut and turn different types of soft and hard materials. One of the popular uses of cbn is in grey cast iron high speed roughing in turning and milling operations.

Some of the advantages of cbn include the following:
• Accommodates various sizes including those beyond turning capability
• Uses a complex system that allows single-point turning
• High material removal rates
• Quick machine setup and faster cycle times
• Dry machining, I.D and O.D machining

Modern cutting applications can barely survive without pcbn tools and more factories are going for cbn materials instead of traditional carbides and ceramics. The hot hardness, high speed working efficiency and ultimate longevity the material provides has been its prime selling aspects. It is advisable to purchase any such tool from credible licensed distributors who can guarantee top quality. This will ensure you get original genuine pcbn material tools that will perform to description.

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